- Reviewed Elsewhere
Contributing reviewers Nell Altizer, Patricia Angley, Alana Bell, Janet Butler, Michael Fassiotto, Lars Fischer, Marie-Christine Garneau, Theo Garneau, Douglas Hilt, Gabriel Merle, Barbara Bennett Peterson, Forrest R. Pitts, and Yvonne Ward provided the excerpts for this issue.
Publications reviewed include Academic Questions, The Age, American Scientist, Australian Book Review, Australian Journal of Politics and History, British Journal for the History of Science, Canadian Historical Review, Catholic Historical Review, The Drama Review, The Economist, Essays in Criticism, French Studies, Gender & History, German History, (Toronto) Globe and Mail, Goethe Yearbook, Guardian Weekly, The Historian, Historical Journal, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, International Review of Social History, Journal of American Studies, Journal of Australian Studies, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Journal of the History of Philosophy, Journal of World History, Latin American Music Review, Literature and Medicine, Le Monde des Livres, Music & Letters, The New Yorker, New York Review of Books (NYRB), New York Times Book Review (NYTBR), Notes, Le Nouvel Observateur, Opera News, Pacific Historical Review, Pennsylvania History, Presidental Studies Quarterly, Review of Politics, Rural History, Russian Review, Science, Se-wanee Review, Studi Francesi, Technology and Culture, The Women's Review of Books, Women's Writing, Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, and Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung.
Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon. Michael O'Brien. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2010. 364 pp. $27.00. Stacy Schiff. NYTBR, Mar. 28, 2010: 15.
"Mrs. Adams set down her account of her trip from St. Petersburg to Paris to prove that she existed, to challenge the notion of 'feminine imbecility.' O'Brien consistently goes her one better, mining her journey for its 'iconic significance.' Louisa Adams became a permanent resident of the United States only at 42; O'Brien sees her trip as symbolic of the border-crossing career, as 'a metaphor for how a woman could manage the difficult business of life.' The trick was to rely on female solidarity; to Mrs. Adams, he maintains, 'women were incomparably more important than men.' I believe him entirely—but not on the basis of any evidence presented here. The claims are spirited and rousing, the voyage flat by comparison."
Franco Alfano: Transcending Turandot. Konrad Dryden. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2010. 203 pp. $40.00. Fred Cohn. Opera News 74.9 (Mar. 2010): 68.
"Dryden sticks to the evidence. The book's prose is honest but inelegant; malapropisms abound. Since the composer left behind no diaries and few personal letters, we find out little about his personal life. The bio's strict chronological order yields some dry spots; many a passage reads like an itinerary, rather than a biographical narrative. Still, the book contains much of interest, especially the pathos of Alfano's efforts, decades after Risurrezione—his one real success—to reestablish his prominence as an opera composer."
Tales From The 5th St. Gym: Ali, the Dundees, and Miami's Golden Age of Boxing. Ferdie Pacheco. Gainesville: UP of Florida, 2010. 250 pp. $27.50. Gordon Marino. NYTBR, Apr. 18, 2010: 17,
"In the end, the Ali who looms up from Pacheco's long-term memories is a brilliant, courageous, assiduous athlete who adores people but is easily manipulated and exploited by the Nation of Islam. While the vignettes about Ali are the main event, the remembrances of Chris Dundee's deal-making and of the travails of lesser-known boxing divinities are delicious."
Robert Altman: The Great Biography. Mitchell Zuckoff. New York: Knopf, 2009. 560 pp. $35.00. Nathaniel Rich. NYRB, Mar. 11, 2010: 29-30.
"To Zuckoff's credit, he doesn't try to resolve the many contradictions surrounding Altman's life and work, but lets them stand awkwardly beside one another for the reader to sort out. Robert Altman was conceived as a memoir, with Zuckoff as a ghostwriter, but Altman died in 2006, shortly after signing the contract. The book might be better for it. As a form the oral biography is well suited to a director who loved the sound of noisy conversation. It...